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“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

If they mock you when you prioritize what you care about, if they resent your best efforts, if they suck out your joy and fart out contempt until you’re suffocating, it ain’t love, or at least, if ain’t well.

If the self-medication has built a wall, if touch is a forgotten language, if the messages are drowned in the inner monologue pretending to be a dialogue, stop and recalibrate. If respect is foreign but sarcasm is familiar, if the house is loud but nobody talks, if electronics dominate the senses, it’s wrong. If you only hear your name through gritted teeth, it stops feeling like the name of a real person. It’s not what you wanted and not what you should have.

Sorry, I know it’s lousy and it feels normal and you feel crazy when you wonder if it should be different.  We’ve all been trained up wrong. Maybe our folks didn’t understand love enough to teach it or maybe they set the bar too high for anyone else to reach. Either way, it’s a wound and a forest grows from it.

It’s hard to accept that some people just don’t know how to dish out or take in the real thing. It’s even harder to accept that we may be used to taking someone’s worst and thinking it’s what we deserve. But this is the truth.

This applies in relationship, friendship, workplace, family, and across society. It’s generational, it’s epigenetic, it’s largely automatic. And that’s no excuse. Sometimes you’re the only one who sees it, and you’re “crazy” for that. You know what though? You probably aren’t.

People who talk to mugshot posters at the Post Office are crazy. People who go to Wal-mart in nothing but a bumper sticker and a smile to purchase gin and pizza rolls and glitter at 2 AM are crazy. People who expect sweeping positive change from presidential elections are crazy. You though, are just alive and human. Your pain is real, and for what it’s worth, if this strikes a cord, I am sorry and I see you.

Maybe you’re gaslit by an expert. Maybe you’re unconsciously abused by a blind heart. Maybe you’re just putting up with it to see how strong you are out of some ridiculous desire to be righteous even if it’s torture. The specifics don’t change the problem, which is that you are hoping for someone else to fulfill you, which, spoiler alert, DOESN’T HAPPEN.

No. It doesn’t. The brochure was a lie.

Take care of yourself. Walk away when the time is right, if you know it’s what needs to happen. Stay and fight, if you can fight with grace and honor and not just to see blood. Stand up for yourself, one way or another. Don’t give in to hate. Don’t give up on love. Start inside, and see what your garden can really grow once you understand that you’re your own sun. 

Best or luck to us all, in that regard.